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UVM Faculty Union Bemoans Widening Salary Gap

The University of Vermont’s faculty union publicly decried a growing salary gap at the university between top administrators and faculty this week, ahead of contract negotiations with the university.

The union, in a press release about the issue [PDF], said the average salary for top university officials (the president, provost, deans and vice presidents) grew 53 percent between 2003 and 2012, while the average faculty salary grew 39 percent over that period.

“The average administrator salary is now $210,851, or 2.65 times the average salary of a full-time faculty member,” the release said.

UVM released a statement in response to the union release encouraging civil, private contract negotiations.

The university looks forward to a set of productive, good-faith negotiating sessions with United Academics that lead to a new, mutually agreeable contract. Both the university and the union agreed not to engage in public discussion on any of the issues that will be appropriately dealt with at the bargaining table, and the university intends to honor that agreement. As a general principle, the university strives to remain competitive in the market with respect to staffing and compensation levels for all positions among comparable institutions.

The union release also said the number of top-level administrative positions grew by more than 52 percent from 2003 to 2012, from 23 to 35.

A study [PDF] prepared by the university's administrative research branch in 2009 examined the relationship between administrative positions and other factors, such as student body size and faculty size. That study found that “UVM’s ratio [of administrators to faculty members] is consistently in the bottom 25 percent of each of the four groups [of universities] examined.”

The university did not dispute the faculty union’s statistical analysis of a growing salary gap between administrators and faculty.